An episode of "What's My Line" from 1953, featuring Eleanor Roosevelt as the mystery guest (her voice was considered so recognisable that John Daly answers the questions for her). A very popular game show.
August 23, 2014
What's My Line?
"What's My Line?" was a game show that aired on CBS from 1950-1967 in primetime at 10:30pm EST on Sunday nights. After the primetime version ended in 1967, "What's My Line?" continued as a syndicated daily program from 1968-1975. It was broadcast from CBS Studio 52 in New York City, later moving to CBS Studio 50 (now the Ed Sullivan Theater).
It was produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. The two partner's production company, Goodson-Todman Productions, was responsible for launching some of the most popular American game shows. The long list of Goodson-Todman game shows includes "The Price Is Right", "Family Feud", "Match Game", "Password", "Beat The Clock", and "Card Sharks". The concept of "What's My Line?" was originated by Robert L. Bach, who served as Associate Producer on the show.
"What's My Line?" was hosted by John Charles Daly and featured a panel of celebrities. For a majority of the show's original run, the panelists included columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, actress Arlene Francis, Random House publisher and co-founder Bennett Cerf, and a fourth guest panelist. A contestant would come on the show and their occupation (or line) would be revealed to the studio and television audience, while the panelists were tasked with guessing the contestant's occupation. The panelists would take turns probing the contestant with "yes" or "no" questions in order to figure out the occupation. With each "no" answer, Daly would pass the questioning over to the next panelist and $5 would be added to the contestant's prize. Contestants could win a maximum of $50 (in 1950, this would be worth about $495 when adjusted for inflation).
Each episode would feature a "mystery challenger", usually a celebrity or public figure. The panelists would be blindfolded and would have to guess the mystery contestant's identity. The mystery contestant would usually disguise their voice to throw off the panelists. In the rare instance seen in the above example, Eleanor Roosevelt's voice was considered too recognizable and had to have Daly answer the questions for her.